How long does it take to sell a property?

To sell a property, we estimate that it takes 4-6 weeks to exchange contracts and then 1-2 weeks after exchange to complete, but this does depend on whether you are also purchasing a property and how many people are in the ‘chain’. It could complete much more quickly or slowly than this. It is very difficult for a solicitor to give you an accurate timescale for your transaction as no two conveyancing transactions are identical.

We would recommend that you instruct a solicitor as soon as you decide to put your property on the market. The solicitor can then send you the property information form and fittings and contents form for you to complete. They will also ask you to provide ID so that, when you have found a buyer, your solicitor is ready to send out the contract package. This could save a week or two.

You will also need to send your solicitor planning and building regulations documents for work that you have carried out at the property, including the appropriate certificates and warranties/guarantees for new boilers, new windows and electrical work.

Your solicitor will need the deeds of the property. Even though the property might be registered at the Land Registry it is always useful to have any old deeds/documents which may be required by the buyer’s solicitor. If you do not have the deeds your previous solicitor or building society may have them and we recommend that you contact them. Your mortgage account number will also be required so that we can contact your lender to obtain a redemption statement.

Once the buyer is happy with their searches results and your solicitor’s replies to any enquiries, you will be sent the contract for signing and will be asked to provide a completion date. When a completion date has been agreed and all parties have signed the contract, contracts will be exchanged and this is when the sale becomes binding. You must complete on the agreed completion date or you may incur financial penalties.

On the agreed completion date you must move out of the property and remove all items, including rubbish, from the house, garden, sheds and garage. Keys are usually handed over by lunchtime by the estate agents and you will have given instructions to your solicitor for transferring the net proceeds of sale to you, after deduction of solicitor’s fees, estate agent’s commission, mortgage redemption and any other disbursements.

If you need any further information or advice on selling your property, please contact us.

Linda Mulrooney is a solicitor in the Property department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.

Solicitors in Suffolk – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email